Candidate Liz Vazquez (center) should be able to count on the support of at least two voters as she runs for a seat on the National School District Board of Directors.
Candidate Liz Vazquez (center) should be able to count on the support of at least two voters as she runs for a seat on the National School District Board of Directors.
I deserve this.
As the winner of the inaugural HA award, I’d like to think it’s in recognition of my body of work…from my inadvertent dialing of 911 and the San Francisco Police Department while on vacation, to my errant cell phone butt-dial that let a friend of mine hear my opinion of his girlfriend.
Of course, it’s probably my latest gaffe—an electronic display of embarrassing and careless candor—that’s making it possible for me to stand here and address you as the 2010 Horse’s Ass award winner.
When the president of a local community group sent me one of his customary e-mail blasts and attachments, I should have just forwarded it to my colleague without comment.
I also should have double—and triple—checked that I was sending the e-mail to the intended recipient and not to the person about whom I was comparing to a drunken uncle. But I didn’t.
Carlos, meet Stupid. Stupid, Carlos.
Not long after I sent the e-mail (and clumsily apologized), he distributed another blast to colleagues and local media entitled “Star-News editor gone wild!” In it he alerted them to my “childish, emotional, obscene, unprofessional, idiotic and personal” blunder. Ouch.
Nonetheless, point taken.
If this episode has taught me anything it’s to always double check the “to” field in an email message. I should say that I also learned not to say or do anything stupid in the future but, c’mon, who are we kidding? There may not be an I in team but there is a HA in human.
So, let this award serve as a cautionary tale of e-mails gone wrong. There but for the grace of God goes you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Disney film with which I should get reacquainted.
Things aren’t looking good for the moribund city of Chula Vista.
In the middle of August, city officials announced that next year they are facing an estimated $12.5 million budget deficit—at minimum. That after years of cutting city staff, hiring freezes and work furloughs; after cutting library hours, park maintenance and street repair; after city council members (some of them anyway) gave up their car allowances, trimmed their office budgets and after members of the city’s white collar labor union agreed to give up salary increases. Even cops and fire-fighters, the sacred cows of municipal kingdoms, tightened their belts. After all of that, there’s still a gaping $12 million abyss that seems to get deeper than the cracks in Keith Richards’ face.
City Manager Jim Sandoval told The Union-Tribune: “We could close all three libraries and all seven recreation centers plus the pools and still it wouldn’t be enough” to close the $12.5 million gap.
Mayor Cheryl Cox calls the news somber. That’s like calling a severed femoral artery an owie.
The city’s hemorrhaging money to the tune of $130 million in operating costs during 2011-2012. Unfortunately, the panacea that everyone’s been praying for—bayfront development and the construction of a four-year university on the east side—is, for now, just more wishful thinking. Simply put, there’ s no significant income on the horizon.
Unless, of course, you raise taxes. And we all know how everyone feels about raising taxes. You’d probably have an easier time convincing people to wrassle “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki in a kiddie pool of chocolate pudding than voting for a tax increase.
During her first term as mayor, Cox told Chula Vistans that she and her colleagues had done their best to trim all the fat from the city’s budget and that sooner or later they would start cutting into the bone. Going into her second four years, it appears as though that time has come.
So, what do you do? The council is holding a budget workshop in early October so they can hear residents’ (read voters) ideas about what needs to be done to restore the city to good fiscal health.
If you’re one of the 230,000 people who live here, what do you tell them? What programs do you cut? Where do you get the money to keep your libraries open?
The Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce and the Chula Vista Tourism and Marketing District recently delivered some disapointing news to the city council.
While they were hoping to collect $650,000 in taxes to promote Chula Vista as a tourist destination, the TMD actually only came up with $315,442 to convince people to shop, dine and stay in the city.
So, where do you take visitors who come visiting from out of town? For a good time, who should you call?
Miss Cougar Del Mar 2010, CC Perkinson, 42, says ultimately cougars want what their male contemporaries want—hell, what most anybody wants—a good time.
The reason women of a certain age go after younger men is because the young guns don’t have the baggage their elders carry (mortgages, career stress, kids and ex-wives), Perkinson says. And the sex is good.
Younger men tend to be more optimistic and adventurous, Perkisnon said. “It’s all about having a good time.”
And really, regardless of age, haven’t women always just wanted to have fun? ( Of course they have)
Surprisingly, however, Perkinson says most of the few snide remarks she receives come from other women who think cougars are out to steal their husbands or make off with their boyfriends.
‘There’s a sterotype that we’re sluts, and we’re not. We’re just out having a good time, dancing, partying,” Perkinson says. “As long as we’re not hurting or killing anybody, what’s the harm?” Based on her photos, maybe the only real harm Perkinson is causing is an occasional racing heart beat and sweaty palm. (http://www.ccperkinson.com/)
But long gone are the days when Anne Bancroft’s Mrs. Robinson (The original cougar?) was the exception rather than the rule.
These days, older women toying with younger men is almost as common as older men taking their “nieces” on a getaway weekend to Vegas.
There’s a website dedicated to hooking up older women with younger men (http://www.urbancougar.com/) and a network television show about a 40-something woman looking for love outside of her own demographic (they even have their own sit-com).
From Oedipus to David Lee Roth, young boys have dreamed about hot older ladies, so the idea of boy meets woman isn’t exactly new or groundbreaking.
But the frankness and candor with which society talks about women, their sexual appetities and prey is a relatively new development.
So welcome, ladies, to the Brotherhood of Superficial Eye-candy Lovers. For generations it’s been an exclusively males-only club. To tell you the truth, being the only gender capable of being a ”dirty old bird” was a little tiresome. Glad you could join us.
And remember. Despite what those jealous and insecure married harpies say about you, urban poet laureate Missy Elliot sums it up best
“Ain’t no shame, ladies, do your thang,
Just make sure you ahead of that game.”
The truth can be like grapefruit juice in your eye: it stings. But don’t fret, just wipe away the tears, learn your lesson and move on to the next World Cup.
Chula Vista, CA may be in the United States but the people in San Diego County’s second largest city bleed red, white and green. Those are the colors of the Mexican flag and on any day during the recently ended World Cup you could spot men, women, children and even Chihuahuas running errands while wearing the colors of El Tri.
Maybe that’s not so surprising given a) Chula is less than 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border and b) that half of the 230,000 residents there are considered Latino or Hispanic. What is puzzling, however, is that no civic organizations took advantage of the occasion.
Sure, cantinas like La Quinta were standing room only on the days Mexico played, but where was the festival where everyone could gather and cheer on their favorite team?
The Little Italy Shopping District did it four years ago when the Azzurri made it to the World Cup Final. They plopped a giant screen down in the middle of India Street and had thousands of people come out to enjoy the game, mingle with neighbors and spend money at the local restaurants, cafes and barshttp://tiny.cc/frr6i.
Is there any reason–other than a lack of imagination and will— why merchants along Third Avenue in Chula Vista couldn’t do likewise, even on a smaller scale? Probably not.
Despite the hoopla, fanfare and uneducated accolades, the U.S. Men’s National Team was not that good and they were lucky to squeak into the second round. A garbage goal in the U.S. v England game http://tiny.cc/gvme2, and come-from-behind ties or victories over teams like Slovenia and Algeria do not a good team make.
While Uncle Sam’s boys proved that it often does pay to be lucky rather than good, in the end our boys got what they deserved: an early ticket home. The great teams (Argentina, Brazil, Germany) consistently play top flight ball, even when losing.
The good teams play well, and more often than not are done in by bad luck or blown calls. But even they are consistent.
The mediocre teams are the ones that are unpredictable. On any given day there is no telling which team will show up, the one that looks like world beaters or the one that looks like it just finished last in a rec. league.
With all that said, the U.S. will win a World Cup before Mexico does. When compared to their Central American counterparts, what the Yanks lack in skill, imagination and passion, they make up for in grit, determination and tenacity. In short, Sam’s Army is mentally stronger than the boys from El Tri.
The fans? Give the edge to all things Latino.
Fans of Mexican soccer don’t just cheer for their countrymen every four years. They live, breathe and believe in their soccer team because it is a part of their culture. It is a part of them. American fans are learning, but they are not yet there. Love for the game does not manifest itself in the American DNA.
At present U.S. fans are big-event band wagoners. They watch and cheer for U.S. Soccer because they only have to every four years. There is no commitment. And that suits our-give-it-to-me-now-live-for-the-moment-culture.
Though we’re coming around and growing into a sophisticated appreciation of the world game, we still have way to go until we can compete with our friends south of the border.
Just because Landon Donovan had a good tournament (for an American player) does not mean he is on the same par as the superstars of the game (even the ones who didn’t show up like Wayne “The Angry Leprechaun” Rooney).
If Donovan is the face of American soccer then U.S. fans need to start looking for a bag to put over his enormous head. Consistent world class performance is the key to distinguishing yourself as a star in this sport and the only thing consistent about Donovan is his inconsistency.
Yes, it was his best World Cup performance to date but it’s a little too late. The old man is 28. Four years from now he’ll be, well, you do the math. Think he’ll have as much impact on the game as Forlan did for Uruguay in 2010 or even Figo did for Portugal a few years back? NO!
Yes, Donovan can score on occasionhttp://tiny.cc/zozmk .But scoring between the sheets is far different than scoring and leading on the pitch when it matters.
Photos: K.B. Binkowski
Replays are needed?
Please. Stop. Now.
Did all you crybabies not get the memo?
LIFE ISN’T FAIR.
Your girlfriend isn’t as pretty or cool as your idiot best friend’s wife.
There are people far duller than you making three times the salary as you for doing half the work.
There were plenty more people than you driving much faster and yet YOU got the speeding ticket.
Through nothing else then simple, dumb luck we were born in a country where running water, electricity and regular meals are not considered luxuries.
LIFE ISN’T FAIR
One of the beauties of futbol (and any other game that shuns that cursed replay as arbiter of fairness) is that it reflects life. You take away that aspect of the game, you take away one of its greatest lessons:
LIFE ISN’T FAIR. DEAL WITH IT.
July 4, 1863 is a date to remember in the Brents family. The war for southern independence was in its third bloody year and the Confederate States of America was about to be dealt a blow (actually, two of them) from which it would never recover. The fledgling Confederacy would be forced into a defensive war it could not win.
The citizens of Conway County, Arkansas, situated in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains between the state capitol of Little Rock and the Missouri border, generally favored the Federal cause but when the state seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, less than a month after the war began on April 12 when rebel forces in South Carolina forced the surrender of Fort Sumter, its men folk were obliged to don gray uniforms and take up arms for the South in its quest for independence.
Arkansas at that time was a sparsely settled region, practically serving as the western frontier of the civilized eastern part of the North American continent. Immediately to the southwest lay Texas, which had only recently gained its independence from Mexico. To the northwest lay the Indian Territory, eventually destined to become the state of Oklahoma in the next century.
The people of Arkansas were late arrivals on the ever-broadening frontier – many of them two centuries removed form their colonial ancestors who had arrived in Virginia when North America was a wild and savage place. There was a distinct dichotomy that separated citizens of the North from those in the South. While many people colonized the northern fringe of British North America in search of religious freedom, those who came to its southern boundaries were looking for something else — to make a profit by growing tobacco. The population of what would eventually become the southern states was almost exclusively comprised of people of English, Irish and Scottish stock, and particularly the protestant Scot-Irish. The northern states were always much more diverse in points of origin as well as in state of mind. Because of the South’s agrarian-based economy, slavery was a necessity. In the much more industrialized North, slaves were not needed to run factories. Conversely, 95 percent of African-Americans lived in the South, comprising about one-third its population base.
The southern states thus found themselves in a dilemma. Recently imposed federal regulations forbade the transportation of slaves across state lines. It was also illegal to import slaves from Africa, as had been the procedure in the 1600s and 1700s. Thus, as Arkansas began to finally emerge as an economic player in its own right, the state’s large landowners needed slaves to power that economy. But the Tran Mississippi region was effectively closed to the importation of slaves, either from Africa or from other neighboring states. While many Southerners may have found this so-called “peculiar institution” offensive in terms of their Christian faith, they had rationalized it, and thus embraced it, as a necessity for the survival of all concerned — white citizens and slaves alike below the Mason-Dixon line. For those who expected to gain from an independent South (i.e. politicians and the cotton industry, in particular), seceding from the Union was the only answer. War was inevitable.
The Confederate constitution, adopted after the secession of seven states in the Deep South, specifically recognized the rights of whites to own slaves and gave slave-owners the freedom to transport their property across state lines within the boundaries of the Confederacy.
The War Between the States, as it is known in the South, was thus a battle for states rights against federal authority. From the viewpoint of wealthy Southerners, it was a just cause — one that would take the best of a generation in bloody conflict. It is estimated that 30 percent of white Southern men between the ages of 18 and 40 died in the conflict either from disease in poorly sanitized camps or on the battlefield. By contrast, the North only lost 10 percent of its fighting men between the ages of 20-45.
The Civil War, as it is known in history books, was in the deadliest war in terms of American dead (620,00 for both sides). It completely devastated the Brents family. When the call to arms came, five Brents men from Conway County — all brothers or cousins — enlisted in Col. Dandridge McRae’s 36th Arkansas Infantry, Co. F, CSA. Only two came back home.
In the case of the Joshua Brents clan, the war also pitted brother against brother.
Joshua had arrived in Arkansas from his native Tennessee in 1851 with his wife Elizabeth and seven children (two more would be born in Arkansas). The family crossed the mighty Mississippi River on a flatboat. Among those dangling his feet over the side of the boat into the cool water was my great-great grandfather Wesley Columbus Brents, who was born in 1847 in Perry Co., Tenn.
Wesley and his older brother William L. both fought for the Union forces, while three of their brothers — Milton Solomon, Pleasant Mitchell and Thomas J. — all fought for the CSA.
Thomas J. contracted spinal meningitis in May 1863; M.S. Brents was killed at the Battle of Helena, Ark. on July 4, 1863.
Milton Solomon (named for his grandfather Solomon Brunts, who was born in the Yadkin River Valley area of western North Carolina in 1775) was 31. He left behind a wife, Hester Ann Willis, and two young children, John Alexander, 8, and Granville Howard, 4.
The Civil War was the first large-scale conflict to use modern-style weaponry. M.S. Brents was shot in the head by a Minie ball, a large-caliber musket-loaded round that produced terrible wounds to those it struck. Death must have been particularly gruesome as well as instantaneous.
While Arkansas sided with the Confederacy, control of its territory by CSA forces did not last long. Vicksburg, Miss., had been under seige by Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant since May 25. Its capture would ensure complete control of the Mississippii River by Federal forces and effectively split the rebellious Confederacy in half.
Union forces were already present in northern Arkansas in 1863 after a successful invasion from southern Missouri and had all but completly occupied the state by 1864, forcing the state’s Confederate government into exile. Despite the presence of Federal troops on Arkansas soil, guerilla activity was still rampant and the younger men of Conway County who had not already been conscripted into the Confederate Army now had to face a new dilemma: forced induction into the Confederate Army at gunpoint.
Thus, William L. and Wesley both enlisted in Co. B, Third Arkansas Cavalry, USA, under the command of Capt. Gibbons. Wesley lied about his age, stating he was 18 on enlistment documents. He was actually only 16.
To compound the family grief, Joshua died on Dec. 3, 1863, at age 52, leaving behind his wife Elizabeth, three daughters and another young teenage son, James, to fend for themselves for the duration of the war, with the older boys all off fighting for their respective armies.
The Battle of Helena proved to be one of the most futile exercises in needless death in the war. The Union had established a well-garrisoned fort overlooking the Mississippi River, manned by about 20,000 troops. The seige at Vicksburg, about 160 miles downriver from Helena, had become a costly affair, particularly for the Confederates, who were ringed in with supplies dwindling. After 40 days, the city’s defenders had been reduced to eating dogs and horses. Citizens of Vicksburg dug caves in the sides of hills to escape the constant Union bombardment.
When a large part of the Union garrison at Helena was transferred to support the seige at Vicksburg, the Confederates felt it was the right time to attack. Lt. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes, commander of the Confederate District of Arkansas, planned a coordinated attack on three sides of the well-defended fortress in an attempt to relieve further pressure on Vicksburg and prevent Helena from being used as a base to attack further into Arkansas.
But it was too late. The same day that Holmes attacked Helena, with losses of 1,636 men, Vicksburg surrendered. Also on July 4, Gen. Robert E. Lee, the South’s shining knight, was in retreat after suffering a massive defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg the previous day. Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg have been hailed as the turning point in the war for the victorious Union.
In all the years since the last cannon fell silent, many Brents kin folk have traveled to the former battlefield at Helena in effort to locate the final resting palce of M.S. Brents. However, all attempts have been futile to find a grave marker at the Confederate cemetary there. Presumably, Milton Solomon either reposes in one of the three mass graves at the cemetery or still lies somewhere out there on the battlefield where he and his comrades fell, kicked into a shallow trench by victorious Yankee soldiers and covered with dirt. The weather in early July must have been warm and humid. The stentch of the dead — both wearing blue and gray uniforms — must have been overpowering to the senses.
As development in the 21st century progresses outside Helena, the battlefield is increasingly being encroached upon — and its sacred dead disturbed. In 2002, a back hoe unearthed the skeletal remains of six Confederate soldiers who had died in an assault on one of the Union batteries. They were haphazardly buried where they fell and forgotten.
Somewhere, possibly where the 36th Arkansas Infantry had been engaged in support of Holmes’ misguided attack, M.S. Brents continues to lie in eternal slumber, his exact whereabouts known only by God.
It is ironic that the majority of Arkansas men who fought — and died — for the Confederacy were those least to benefit from the continuation of slavery. It is estimated that 80 percent of Col. McRae’s men were dirt farmers and laborers before the war. A sizable percentage of those men were illiterate. They were barely above the station in life of slaves themselves. It is perhaps noteworthy that following the war, Thomas C. Hindman, Arkansas’ highest ranking Confederate military officer and avowed secessionist, was assassinated.
Today, two monuments adorn the Confederate cemetery in Helena. One is dedicated to the memory of Major Gen. Patrick Cleburne, a resident of Helena, nicknamed “The Stonewall of the West.” The other monument, a granite shaft called the Confederate monument, is situated in the center drive of the cemetery. It reads:
Confederate Memorial for Unknown Dead
The nameless dead, the fameless dead
yet they made the fame of others
This lofty shaft is witness mute
Of the love we bear beyond compute
For our southland patriot brothers
They gave their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Confederate soldiers are now recognized as American servicemen by the Veterans Administration and, thus, are eligible to receive free headstones. Graveside services, with an authentic-garbed CSA color guard and live cannon salute, have become more common in the South as descendants re-connect with their Confederate dead.
After 147 years, the Brents family is still waiting for one of its sons to return home.
What does the Fourth of July mean to you?
UFO near Edwards AFB as photographed on June 7, 2010.
I have seen four UFOs — unidentified flying objects — in my lifetime and finally had the opportunity to photograph one earlier this month (Monday, June 7). The location was about 10 miles north of Four Corners (where highways 395 and 58 cross west of Barstow). Just south of this location, the 395 plows through the northeastern edge of Edwards Air Force Base. Radar installations can be seen on either side of the road, obviously part of the massive military complex.
I was in the front passenger seat, generally annoying the driver, Star-News photographer Paul Martinez, over my ignorance of the local geology. We had just left an area of obvious volcanism, as evidenced by numerous lava flows near the roadside, an ancient cinder cone displaying a Mt. St. Helens type of catastrophic eruption and a real-life, full-on volcanic caldera further toward the eastern horizon. Near the highway, there was obvious uplifting of the ground, with a seam of ancient lava clearly displayed.
As we headed down to increasingly lower elevations, we passed a turnoff for Ridgecrest and the small mining outposts of Johannesburg and Red Mountain.
As we came over a hill, a large flat expanse of desert-type terrain awaited us. I spotted a dust devil in the distance. (We had spotted numerous dry lakebeds throughout the afternoon.) The dust devil crossed the highway a few miles ahead of us without any apparent damage to vehicles. The time was 2:17 p.m. and there was a fair amount of traffic on the road. The sun had already shifted in the sky to our right.
As we were preparing to enter the area vacated by the dust devil, Paul pointed to a shiny object in the sky, maybe 30 degrees above the ground and to the left of the remnants of the dust devil. The object was easily seen – at least twice as bright as the planet Venus in twilight – and, with this being midday, the object was spectacularly bright against a bright blue background. The object was obviously reflecting sunlight. After a few seconds, I managed to get a lock on the object with my Cannon 20D digital camera, zooming in a bit. After I got off two snaps, the object winked out and was gone. It appeared to be moving along an arcing path and had been reflecting sunlight off its shiny surface. The object appeared to be lowering itself in the sky as I lost sight of it. Paul said he thought it had been traveling at a fairly high rate of speed. We both were mystified.
I immediately recalled my other daylight UFO sighting, which was actually a double sighting. This happened in the 1980s and I was in the kitchen of the house my family was renting at the time in National City. My father called out for me to come out and look at something unusual in the sky. I complied and he pointed up to a bright object traveling to the south, maybe 50 degrees or so up from the horizon. It was well away from us, maybe 1-4 miles, but was moving in the sky without making any type of conventional aircraft sound. The object was also undulating as it traveled along, reflecting the strong afternoon sunlight every time it dipped. Now, I do not have the best eyesight, even when wearing corrective lenses. But I did discern a hemispheric half-dome shape. The moon was visible, somewhere between first quarter and the waxing gibbous phase, but easily seen in the daylight sky. The object was much smaller than the moon, maybe 1/6 to 1/8 its diameter, but was resolvable. What made the observation more intriguing is that my father said the object I saw was the actually second of two identical objects that had passed by. The first object was out of sight by the time I had come out in the backyard. I had thought of going back into the house to get my super-8mm camera but reasoned the object could be gone by the time I returned. I logged the sighting in my astronomy journal and went on to other things.
It wasn’t until years later when I was discussing the sighting with my father and described what I had seen. I asked him to sketch what he had seen. He wore corrective lenses but was far-sighted and rated 20/15 on eye chart tests. He had very good distance vision (whereas I was chronically near-sighted). I was amazed as what he drew! He drew the classic “saucer” shape with a row of windows or portholes on a dome laying on a flat saucer. He thought it was the windows or portholes that was likely reflecting the sunlight. The objects had passed by without detectable sound and we witnessed no jets scrambled to intercept them, nor was there any mention in the papers over the next few days of any others making the same sighting. I guess my father just happened to be looking up at that part of the sky at the right time.But what did we see? It was obviously a three-dimensional physical object in the sky. We both saw it in real time. It wasn’t a balloon. We both had seen plenty of hot-air balloons or kiddie balloons send aloft in the air. It wasn’t an aircraft. My father was an aircraft assembler at Rohr and had flown a single-engine plane in his earlier days. He knew darn well what conventional aircraft looked like. But why weren’t they buzzed by jets from nearby military bases? Were they actually some of ours? It remains a puzzle today.
The motion of this object near Edwards AFB seemed a bit odd to me. In the last year or so, I have made a kind of hobby of photographing high altitude airliners producing condensation trails, especially near sunset. I have also been able to photograph the same phenomena during cold winter nights in strong moonlight. Now, the airliners are clearly visible in these photographs (at least the daytime ones, even if only in ghostly form). Wings, tail fin, fuselage – the whole works can clearly be seen in12x digital images even though the aircraft are obviously miles away.
When I played back the images on the camera, I noted that an image was recorded and that I had managed to get it in focus in both shots. It appeared oblong and shiny against the blue sky, with obvious glare coming from something on its surface. It also did not have any noticeable wings or helicopter rotors or any telltale suspended apparatus as one might imagine dangling from a weather balloon.
A few minutes later, Paul sighted an aircraft off in the distance, possibly coming into Edwards for a landing. He described this as a conventional aircraft. But what did I photograph? Good question.
I half expected the objet to land and had images of what patrolman Lonnie Zamora must have seen when he came across the egg-shaped object that had landed in a ravine near Soccoro, N.M. in 1964. But I was getting ahead of myself.
I am not the first to sight something strange near Edwards AFB. In fact, astronaut Gordon Cooper saw something he described as “a classic saucer, shiny silver and smooth, about 30 feet across” land on three legs on a dry lake bed while employed as an elite test pilot at Edwards AFB in 1957. “It was pretty clear it was an alien craft,” he said in a report detailed on www.ufoevidence.org. The object was filmed by a professional camera crew during the installation of a precision landing system (a project Cooper was in charge of) and Cooper saw the developed film before it was shipped to Washington, according to the Web site.
In the last decade reports have surfaced of three underground research bases in the Lancater-Palmdale-Edwards AFB area, supposedly operated by Northrup, McDonnell-Douglas and Lockhead. Unconventional aircraft have been sighted at or near these facilities, which are not located under restricted airspace.
The purpose of these facilities is believed connected to the development and testing of “stealth” aircraft, according to various conspiracy Web sites.
As we were discussing our observation in the car, Paul suggested “anti-gravity” as the mode of propulsion. Now this is not far-fetched. The object was clearly moving under its own direction or was being remotely controlled . It did not appear to make any sound associated with jet engines nor did it make any type of loud helicopter type noise given its relative nearness to the highway. There was also no rocket flame visible underneath the craft. Did it create the vortex associated with the dust devil or was it merely observing it? Or was it not connected with the dust devil at all?
We formed the hypothesis that it was some type of next generation military observing drone. Given the close proximity of Edwards AFB, I am 99 percent certain we were looking at some type of military test flight of a vehicle of unconventional design. So where does that put UFO reports?
Are they ours or are they someone — or something — elses? The lights in the sky sightings could be explained by military testing of secret high-tech aircraft. Given the advances in physics since WWII, Einstein’s relativity theory and the introduction of modern technology, it is quite believable that scientists have discovered how to manipulate magnetic fields and gravitational fields into a new form of energy – completely without the aid of extraterrestrial beings, as posthulated by UFO cover-up die-hards. We have to remember that that vast majority of the universe is comprised of something we cannot even see – dark matter and dark energy. Have U.S. scientists actually stumbled upon its elemental building blocks?
If they have, it’s certain we will never be made aware of it. Anything that would make fossil fuels obsolete overnight would be in danger of toppling huge gas and utilities corporations and throw the economies of all the western democracies into disarray. No, politicians need the “gas giants” in order to keep citizenry in check.
What’s even more intriguing, if you favor grand conspiracy theories, is that the Obama administration seems determined to take America out of the space exploration game with the recent cancellation of return to the moon and manned Mars missions. Does President Obama know something we don’t? Are U.S. military personnel already housed in secret bases on the moon and Mars as a result of advanced (albeit secret) technological breakthroughs?
It’s a well established rule of thumbe among one world order and conspiracy theorists that what the government possesses runs about 20 years ahead of what we’re actually allowed to see. Thus, are the majority of Southern California UFO sightings connected to a series of “deep black” government programs? What about the enigmatic lights dancing in he night skies above Phoenix and other nearby Arizona cities? A military installation is nearby, after all.
There is so much disinformation out there on the UFO enigma that it can only benefit any “deep black” projects — if they really exist — thus allowing them to operate unchecked..Discredit UFO reports and eye-witnesses while continuing to manufacture them. Hmmm, that sounds like a pretty good set-up, if you ask me.
Project Bluebook, which many point to be a government cover-up, detailed that a certain small percentage of UFO sightings could not be explained away as seagulls, the planet Venus or swamp gas. An aunt and uncle of mine observed a jagged boomerang-shaped object one night near Barrett Lake. Another uncle worked as an air traffic controller and mentioned it as common to track UFOs on radar at least once a week making huge turns over four states while going 2,000 mph. An older cousin in the U.S. Air Force said he heard all kinds of stories pertaining to crashed UFO retrievals but that they remained just that — intriguing stories for those who wanted to believe. One of my astronomy professors in college told me that one of his trusted colleagues had seen a metallic saucer-shaped craft hovering over power lines.
Could all of these have been of terrestrial manufacture?
Then there are the unexplained: close encounters of the third and fourth kind.
Something is going on, whether it is of our own making or actual contact with otherworldly or inter-dimensional beings.
Have you seen something strange in the sky? What’s your take on the whole UFO enigma?
So, after 18 years, the San Diego Sockers are champions again. Officially, it’s the fabled club’s 11th indoor soccer championship after scoring an unprecedented 10 league banners in an 11-year run in the North American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League from 1981-92.
Should we get excited about this?
Yes, certainly. But also with a bit of reservation.
The league in which this newest Sockers franchise plays is called the Professional Arena Soccer League-Pro. The Sockers are one of nine teams based in the United States, plus five more in Canada. Average attendance among league members hovered near the 600 mark. No, I’m not leaving out a digit. The Sockers led the PASL-Pro in attendance average at 1,705 playing in the refurbished Del Mar Arena.
If one bases a league’s stature on its attendance average, the PASL-Pro has light years to go to bring itself up to even the MISL II, World Indoor Soccer League and Continental Indoor Soccer Leagues – all minor league circuits the original Sockers franchise competed in following the demise of the MISL in 1992.
The Sockers defeated La Raza de Guadalajara, the champions of the Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido, in the PASL’s North American championships March 13 in Del Mar. The Sockers held on to post a 9-8 win after nearly squandering a 7-3 halftime lead.
I was not in attendance but about 1,000 hardy fans were. The original Sockers’ last championship game in 1992 drew more than 10,000 fans to the Sports Arena.
The Sockers’ largest PASL-Pro crowd this season was 2,126.
Phil Salvagio, a member of the Sockers teams in the 1990s, got together with fellow investors to reboot the legendary club in 2009 to compete in the PASL-Pro, a modest grassroots pro league with lots of room to build. The idea was to play close to home to the club’s new investors.
If one considers more affluent North County to be the ideal fan base, it appears either there aren’t as many indoor soccer fans north of interstate 8 than be;ieved or there are a sufficient number but that they are rejecting the current level of play.
Would this new Sockers club have fared better by playing in a more central location? Maybe so, but even doubling the team’s attendance figure might not be enough to play in a much larger venue such as the Sports Arena.
The Del Mar Arena seats about 3,000 fans.
But for those who did attend games this season, I will say this, the Sockers do have a legion of die-hard supporters, though smaller in number than in days of yore. I attended one game in late December that featured a reunion of Sockers Legends players for a halftime showcase. While the Del Mar Arena now has a roof overhead, both ends remain open to the elements and about halftime one’s breath began to condense. It got rather cold midway through the third quarter. I was grateful when the game was finally over.
The premium box seats, adjacent to the playing field (without intervening Plexiglas), were plastic lawn patio chairs. Now, considering the state of the interior of the Sports Arena these days, that might even be an upgrade.
Creature comforts aside, these new Sockers accomplished what was intended: revive the Sockers name with pride.
The team finished first in the PASL-Pro’s Western Division with a 13-3 record, going 8-0 at home. The Socks beat out the Stockton-based California Cougars (12-4) by one game in the division standings. The Cougars were last year’s PASL-Pro champs.
Not bad considering the Sockers’ top player was 40-year-old Paul Wright, an alumnus (way back) of Grossmont High School. Wright led the Sockers in regular season scoring with 37 points on 14 goals and 23 assists. He ranked seventh overall in scoring and third overall in assists in the league.
The ageless wonder scored one goal in the Sockers’ fast 5-1 first quarter start in the championship game. He also scored on a 50-yard free kick in the Sockers’ 6-5 semifinal victory against Sidekicks del Estado de Mexico (Mexico City) last Friday.
Wright was a member of the Sockers final MISL championship team in 1992. He also was part of the Sockers squad that competed in the lower-budgeted MISL II before the franchise disbanded in December 2004 due to financial difficulties.
He called the PASL-Pro championship game an “unbelievable” moment in a career that doesn’t seem to have an end, at least yet. He said he was glad to have a part in reviving the storied Sockers name and for representing it well – with a championship.
“It feels better than I thought it would be,” the former Foothiller record-holder said. “The feeling then (in 1992) was a lot like this.”
Wright, who first joined the Sockers in 1990 and returned in 2002, said he put in “a lot of hard work” for this latest Sockers’ championship, and that “it paid off.”
He is surely destined to join the team’s famous alumni as a future Sockers Legend. Some of his current teammates might even join him. Former SDSU standout Kraig Chiles had two goals in the Sockers’ five-goal first quarter uprising and finished the game with three goals. A goal by former Valhalla High standout Anthony Medina helped stave off a furious La Raza comeback bid that saw the Mexican champions close the gap to 8-6. The Sockers played with a one-goal lead over the game’s final nerve-racking 7:42 as the Mexicans played with a sixth-attacker.
Dan Antoniuk, Miguel “Chiky” Luna, Ze Roberto and Braeden Cloutier each had single goals for the Sockers. Cloutier also hails from a previous Sockers era.
The exceptionally physical game featured 11 two-minute penalties and two five-minute penalties and was briefly halted after La Raza players mutinied over officiating calls.
But the chippy contest resumed, reaching a climactic finish as the Sockers defense – braced by goalkeeper Riley Swift – held on to escape with the victory. Swift, an original Socker from 2000-06 during the team’s days in the MISL and CISL, made 20 saves in the PASL-Pro final en route to being named MVP of the championship tournament.
Original Sockers legends Juli Veee, Zoltan Toth, Erich Geyer and George Katakalidis were among those in attendance as the old guard officially handed the torch to a new generation of Sockers players.
Said Salvagio of the Sockers’ 11th indoor title: “It’s been a long time coming.”
Following the PASL championship game, the Sockers still had at one game remaining on their slate: April 10 in Louisville, Ky., in the U.S. Open Arena Soccer championships. The Sockers won, 11-7, over the Louisville Lightning to complete a North American championship sweep.
The franchise appears to have scored in the on-field department but what about the off-field department?
Championships are nice but there are larger issues with the stability of the league as several teams averaged in the low hundreds for games, not low thousands. A break-even figure of 2,500 was thrown around by Sockers management early in the season.
Given the general lack of fan support, the burning question is thus: Will the Sockers and the PASL-Pro be back?
The No on G Campaign has been catching a lot of flak in the last few days after releasing an advertisement that draws parallels between Arizona’s recent immigration bill and the upcoming ballot measure. The video appears below.
Do you think the ad is over the line? Yesterday I spoke to a volunteer for the No on G Campaign, Lupe Nieto, and he told me that the purpose of the spot was to draw a parallel between the alleged discrimination under Arizona’s new statute and the discrimination that would supposedly occur under Prop G.
The No on G campaign says the ballot measure would lead to union workers being shut out of jobs – “discriminated” against because they happen to belong to a union. (The measure actually wouldn’t bar unions from bidding on city projects, but we can forget that for now…) The type of discrimination that would allegedly result from Prop G isn’t really spelled out in the ad, though. If someone watching wasn’t familiar with Prop G, might they think the law actually has something to do with immigration enforcement?
This is an English translation provided by the Yes on G campaign:
The new Arizona law discriminates against Latinos.
(Shot of police with hundreds or protesters in the background and a large American flag being carried by a protester goes in front of the camera. Flashes to angry Latino men in red shirts yelling at the media.)
The police can arrest you simply because you look like you’re from Mexico.
(Flashes to a shot of of 3 police cars and multiple police officers removing a man from a truck at gunpoint from an aerial view)
Proposition G in Chula Vista discriminates here against our community.
(White screen with the words in Spanish, No on G logo on the bottom)
Proposition G will take away jobs from our community.
(Two pictures of Latino union workers that have been used in their mailer)
Vote No on G. Defend out Community. No discrimination in Chula Vista.
(White screen with Each sentence in red and blue)
No on G
(Ends with white screen and No on G logo and June
We’re opening this forum up for your comments, let us know what you think about the ad.